This is the second of our two-part blog series on Prashant Tiwari. RIP, kiddo.
If you were among the people that attended Prashant’s funeral, you probably witnessed an odd ritual.
Moments before his body was taken for cremation, the silent hall was punctuated with cries of “pineapple!”
The prickly tropical fruit, it so happens, was a buzzword for four young struggling musicians who wanted to communicate with the world and bring change through their lyrics and music.
Mayank Paul, 19, a member of Definition, a hip-hop group that Prashant belonged to, explained the chant.
A few years ago, Mayank Paul (MP), Shehzeb Iftakhar (Devious), Sukhman Dulay (Dulay) and Prashant Tiwari (PT), all members of Definition, were shooting the breeze and brainstorming about taking the world by storm, when PT, the ever pragmatic one among them, pointed out the obvious: their music was way too complex for the average human.
“He (Prashant) said we need to take all our lyrics and dumb them down,” Mayank recalled. “So, we were like, how do you dumb stuff down?”
“We need to say smart stuff stupidly,” Prashant quipped. “Yo, say anything on track, say, pineapple…”
And so “pineapple” became the mantra they used often when trying to connect with the quirky world that— at times — didn’t get them.
On a recent summer day, ten days after he was admitted to the local hospital, Prashant, hanged himself. He was under suicide watch. But, while he was in the hospital, his friends and family visited him daily.
“He couldn’t accept a lot of things and so, he wanted to change a lot of things,” Mayank said. “In one of the last conversations we had with him, he told us, we shouldn’t blame ourselves for the situation he had put himself in.”
During his short and troubled stint on this earth, all Prashant Tiwari ever wanted was, the world to validate his existence.
Definition members met by happenstance while in high school and connected. They all had one thing in common: an itch to transform the world, one hip-hop song at a time.
The quartet believed there was a growing feeling of alienation among teens today. School administrators couldn’t care less. Worse, no one in their immediate world, had the inclination or time to listen, coach or guide them.
Prashant was funny and wise. He was a jester and a philosopher. He understood the black and white shades of life, but could not handle the gray areas.
Not a day goes by when Gautam Tiwari, 17, (Prashant’s kid brother) doesn’t miss him.
“Depression doesn’t happen suddenly,” Gautam said. “It builds up. When kids leave high school, we are completely left in the dark. There’s a huge pressure to go to university. We have counsellors in school, I am not sure, if they are trained in mental health, they should be. Prashant was a driven person, but depression eats away at you slowly.”
School wasn’t Prashant’s thing. He wanted to be a rapper. Music was his salvation; his antidote to keeping the monster that was depression at bay.
“We were all pretty serious about making music that would make an impact,” Mayank said. “One of the things people should know about Prashant was that he wanted to discipline himself to the point nothing would faze him. He focused on his body and mind. Do you know any 19-year-olds interested in taking Sanskrit classes? Prashant wanted to learn the vedas and use them as references to guide his mind, body and spirit…”
“He always stood-up for what was right,” he continued. “Prashant had no problem saying anything that was in his mind. He was a very funny guy. He always did spontaneous things…”
There’s a huge expectation in our society to succeed, but what’s success? And who defines it?
Definition will be releasing an album soon that will include a track called No More that Prashant recorded a long time ago.
Prashant, you said it right. Ultimately, all existence comes down to the pineapple philosophy.